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  #111  
Old 11-29-2011, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I'm not saying this is a boundary you ought to drop, I just wanted to give a shout out to the idea that there's usually a third option. If something can't become better that doesn't mean it has to become worse by changing -- it can instead become different but equally good.
You've got a point there, Annabel. The reason why I was thinking about that boundary and wrote about it was to be able to deal with it better and hopefully to get rid of it at some point. I have absolutely no desire to control my partners and be the one telling them not to do things, so I very much want to learn to feel comfortable with as many things as possible. I want to dig deep, find out why I feel uncomfortable and process it. So I'm happy to hear all kinds of feedback about my thoughts on this.
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  #112  
Old 12-03-2011, 02:01 PM
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I want to write about love and attachment and expectations.

I've been processing those a lot since starting poly and even before that. I've reached a point lately where it feels quite easy for me to love without linking much expectation into it. It feels like loving without expectation is the most suitable approach for me towards relationships. In no way do I do that perfectly, but it is becoming easier.

To clarify what I'm talking about, I'll give you an example. A few years back I had sex with a friend of mine whom I liked a lot. It was a one time thing, but our friendship kept on deepening after that. I would have been open to having sex again, but my friend was not; and that made me feel somewhat sad and a bit rejected, but at no point did I let that affect our friendship. I have then made my peace with the fact that our relationship won't have that sexual side, and I no longer feel sad about that.

Now, I know that text talks about sex, but there is more to the picture. Had the feelings been mutual, I think I would have wanted a relationship (and the poly discussion with Alec would have come some years earlier). But they weren't, and when I talk about making peace with that, I also talk about letting go of attachment to an outcome. My feelings for my friend have not gone away, but they don't demand reciprocity. I do like to know that I am liked and cared for, but I do think our feelings are on different levels. I am fine with that, and allow our relationship be what it is.

Another instance where I've thought about these things is my friendship with Ally (who Mya mentioned in an earlier post). I have begun to realise that my desire to have sex with a person comes from a connection. It doesn't have to be deep enough that I would class it love, but qualitatively it is no different. I need to like and care for the person to want to have sex with them. Liking and caring for a person are also the components that love consists of, for me. So these things can confuse me a bit sometimes. Anyway, I wasn't going to go into the definition of love again. So where was I?

Yes, connection. Lately, I've felt like I would like to deepen my connection with Ally. It's not a pressing need, but I feel like it would be nice to become closer than we are now. Also, I've felt like I would be open to having sex with her, if the situation came up, and she was open to it. I've discussed the possibility quite a lot with Mya, and talking about it with her has helped me to figure out where I stand with it. She feels that if she was in my position, she would definitely not want to actually have sex because of the risks: the emotions may deepen into love, and thus it would hurt that there can't be a partnership (which there can't be between me and Ally for many reasons, the most obvious of which have to do with geography and neither of us having the practical or emotional availability for an additional relationship at least any time soon). I can understand her point of view, since that's really what culture tells us will inevitably happen if emotions are involved: that if you can't be in a relationship with a person you love, it will cause you unreasonable amounts of hurt. And I think that's how it works for some people. But I don't think that's inevitable for everybody.

If I were to have sex with Ally, it is likely that my feelings would deepen. I would probably feel closer and more connected to her. However, that wouldn't change anything respective to our circumstances, so even if that did cause me to desire a relationship with her, it wouldn't be possible. I don't deny there isn't a slight chance that it would hurt not being able to become more. But I highly doubt it would be in any way unbearable. That's just how life is, you can't always get everything you want. I can live with whatever feelings there are, and they don't dictate my actions.

Now then, it seems that I am pretty close to loving without expectation in general. But today I started thinking about my partnerships, and I feel that my approach is somewhat different there. I mean, I feel pretty unattached in terms of what a partnership must look like. I am open to LDR, open to my partners having children with other people (was even when in mono relationship, which is a hell of a lot less common than in poly circles). Basically, as long as my partner treats me with respect and love, our relationship is a (not THE but A) priority to them, and we are reasonably compatible, I'm good.

However, while I haven't let NRE effect my behaviour and judgement in my everyday life, it has ganged up with general exitement about poly, and as a result I feel quite attached to our happy N-shaped poly tangle, and to being in a poly relationship. And while, fortunately, I'm no longer teen enough to get engaged after a month of dating like I did with Alec, I can't help that in my mind I am really committed to Mya, and have been for many months. I'm not scared of commitment in any way, and I guess I've been lucky with her, just as I turned out to be with Alec, in that it looks like we really are compatible as partners. Yet, I feel that there is an issue here, but it's hard to pin it down. There is definitely a desire in me to share my life with Mya. But I also feel like the combination of NRE, New Poly Exitement, and strive for equality has put me on a conveyorbelt, on which I move towards the goal that is not so much decided on as it is a given from the beginning.

I don't know if that makes sense? Example. I feel like I really want to get (non-officially) married to Mya in the future. Now, what if I wasn't sure about it? Yet, I am already (officially) married to Alec. So it can't be that I oppose marriage in gereral. Thus, if I didn't want to marry Mya, that would signify (to me, her, and everybody else) that I care for her less than I do for Alec.

I feel that there is not much better advice than "let relationships be what they are". Yet I feel like because of our starting point, me and Mya have restricted room to figure out what it is our relationship is, and that some end points are more acceptable than others.
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Last edited by rory; 12-03-2011 at 06:39 PM.
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  #113  
Old 12-04-2011, 10:12 AM
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Wow, I'm finally getting to the bottom of it.

A radical thought (to me, maybe others will go "DUH" when reading this): what if the best thing to do is to drop the the notion of equality/fairness altogether?

I've never questioned the feeling I've had since few years back regarding poly. That thought: why would somebody who is single want to start a relationship with me, when I am already married and cannot offer what a single person can? Is it even ethical of me to even start a relationship with another person when I am restricted in what I can offer her?

Well, universe showed me the first flaw it there: the person in question may be already married themselves. Well, that solves everything, because the "things I can't give" she already has satisfied in her marriage, right? Wrong. Her needs from me are pretty much a separate thing from her needs from him. A married person may want/need a lot to be in a relationship, and indeed I've found myself wanting a lot from her even as I'm already married. I've found that it has a lot more to do with the personalities of, and the dynamics between, the people involved.

However, there is a bigger flawed assumption that no doubt has to do with my difficulties in defining my own personal boundaries: that were I single I would have no constraints to "what I can offer" OR that the only constraints now come from being married to Alec. Thus, as long as I was monogamous with Alec, there were no limits to what I can offer to him, right? Oh, please. Just writing that down I can see it so completely not true.

It comes to something I'm still trying to learn to understand: a person can't meet all their partner's needs/wants. Funnily enough, since becoming poly I'm really flexible in what get from my partners as long as they treat me with love and respect. What is harder for me to internalise is that I am not responsible to provide everything my partner wants or needs.

There's the problem with aiming for equality or fairness; it includes entitlement, a right to something from me. When actually all my partner has a right to is what I have a right to from them: to be respected, loved, and to be taken into consideration. Not that those are small things, they are huge. But it is obvious to me that I treat anybody I care about like that.

Equality/fairness includes assumption of entitlement. It will no longer be my aim. When a partner of mine tells me they want or need something, I will make it a priority (again, not the but a priority), as I always do. I will try to focus on that more, and only worry about fairness if somebody else expresses that something is unfair to them.
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  #114  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
what if the best thing to do is to drop the the notion of equality/fairness altogether?

...

Equality/fairness includes assumption of entitlement. It will no longer be my aim. When a partner of mine tells me they want or need something, I will make it a priority (again, not the but a priority), as I always do. I will try to focus on that more, and only worry about fairness if somebody else expresses that something is unfair to them.
Beautiful! Really, this could be a "poly lessons" essay, very important stuff that we all need to at least be reminded of now and then.
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  #115  
Old 12-04-2011, 07:20 PM
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As often as I think about stuff, or am dealing with some new insight, you cover this as well. Really scary somehow how similar all this seems to be. Is there a pattern one has to manage and go through when discovering poly? Sometimes I get the feeling that I can stop blogging, you do it beautifully I came to the same conclusion three nights ago, when I discussed the discrepancies between our relationships (me - Lin, me - Sward) with Sward.
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  #116  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:57 PM
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I don't know what's wrong with me. Lately, for some reason, I've started to have these bad feelings, which I guess you could classify as jealousy. I think. Before poly I was so not jealous that I hardly knew what that feeling was. After we started, same thing, still not jealous. But it's a very specific situation where this new feeling comes up: JJ in a bar in our hometown hitting on a woman. He had one date with a potential fwb few months ago, that didn't feel bad. He has kissed a few women, one of them in front of me, that didn't feel bad. He has had feelings for someone else and made out with her, that didn't feel bad. I guess the difference in the bar situation is that anyone can see it, and without knowing the agreement we have, feel sorry for me after seeing him getting it on with someone else. Because it's such a small town, you can't really go to a bar without seeing anyone who knows you. I absolutely hate the thought of someone thinking (and maybe gossiping about) that JJ is cheating on me and "poor Mya, there she is sitting alone at home while her husband is doing all that". I don't know if it's really jealousy or more something like a worry about my/our reputation in our hometown?

And also, now I have a new thing to worry about. The last time me and JJ went out together with friends, he danced with someone for a while. He said she hinted that she would like to sleep with him. When we discussed this at home, I asked whether he would've done it if I hadn't been there. He said that he probably would've. The thing is, I happen to know things about this woman (again, small town , she's a friend of a friend). And she means drama. Baaad drama. I'm actually really happy JJ didn't do anything with her besides dance, because I can't just distance myself from his life completely and I'm pretty sure that act would've had concequences, bad ones. In general, I fear that he makes bad decisions if he decides to sleep with someone he just met. That's why I didn't feel bad about the date, even if it would've ended in them sleeping together, because at least then he would've known something about her. The same thing with the woman he had feelings for. But someone random - who knows what kind of things she would bring to our lives!

Ok, well maybe these things are not jealousy, but the result of them is the same: I feel like I should set a boundary. But I don't really want to. I want him to do whatever makes him happy and doesn't make me incredibly unhappy. But are these things any of my business? Should I just let go of all the worries? If so, how do I do that?
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  #117  
Old 12-09-2011, 12:07 AM
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I think that asking to know about a woman before he sleeps with her so you can give your two cents is perfectly reasonable and not too limiting at all. After all, you share your body with this man on a regular basis, if he unknowingly sleeps with someone who's hiding disease or drama up her sleeve it will badly affect you!

As for your concern about people thinking he's cheating on you, why don't you accompany him to the bar a few times and make your approval clear, like come over and kiss him on the cheek while he's chatting up a girl, wink at her, tell her he's a catch and say "I'm heading home now to skype with my girlfriend but you two have a wonderful evening, k?" Then grin at him and say "text me if you're staying out late, handsome."

That would send the message to the town loud and clear, but also might be a liiittle more out and proud than you're ready to be?
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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  #118  
Old 12-09-2011, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
I think that asking to know about a woman before he sleeps with her so you can give your two cents is perfectly reasonable and not too limiting at all. After all, you share your body with this man on a regular basis, if he unknowingly sleeps with someone who's hiding disease or drama up her sleeve it will badly affect you!
It isn't too limiting? I'm relieved you think that. Somehow in my head it still is a bit too much, if what he wants is to hook up with someone he just met and not form too much of a bond with her (this isn't really the case, but I guess sometimes he would like to do just that), so I would be denying him the exact thing he wants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
As for your concern about people thinking he's cheating on you, why don't you accompany him to the bar a few times and make your approval clear, like come over and kiss him on the cheek while he's chatting up a girl, wink at her, tell her he's a catch and say "I'm heading home now to skype with my girlfriend but you two have a wonderful evening, k?" Then grin at him and say "text me if you're staying out late, handsome."

That would send the message to the town loud and clear, but also might be a liiittle more out and proud than you're ready to be?
Haha, I love that! I could actually see myself do that in an ideal world. But yeaaah... A little bit too out and proud like you guessed. But that attitude is something to think about, even if I wouldn't say that in the situation. Then again, if there are rumours to be spread, I'd prefer them to be about us being open than us cheating on each other.
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  #119  
Old 12-09-2011, 01:09 AM
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I don't think it's unreasonable to express concerns about potential lovers who are drama queens and known to be problematic. Nor do I think it's too limiting to say, "I'd feel better if I at least met someone before you'd have sex with her." That wouldn't limit his dating, nor is it a veto, but just something that makes you more comfortable.
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  #120  
Old 12-09-2011, 01:30 AM
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Yeah, Eric is all about the casual sex but would never dream of sleeping with a woman without Gia's "ok". The approval of the woman with whom he plans to spend the rest of his life is just way more important than that tiny extra degree of spontaneity.

At the very least, maybe he could text you the woman's name if he thinks things are heading in that direction, so if you know problematic things about her you can say "not her please!" But really, while some couples might not need this, I see waiting until you can just meet her once, even briefly, as perfectly normal, fair, and respectful. The waiting, if he meets her and establishes a rapport when you're not there could make it all the hotter, yeah?
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The major players. Me, 30ish bi female. Gia, girlfriend of 4+ years. Clay, boyfriend/dom. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eddie, roommate & fwb.
The supporting cast. Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler. Dexter, Gia's lover. Helen, Eric's lover. Izzy and Nikki, Clay's partners. Liam, Eddie's husband.
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